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Here is a little piece of Seattle, Washington history: I’ve busked (played on the street) and played at many basket houses (where you are paid via audience tips) throughout my musical career. I’ve been using this sign to solicit tips for more than forty years. Will Mutch, aka Sketcho Mutcho, the great Pike Place Market artist and sign painter, created it for me in the winter of 1974.


Will Mutch, aka Sketcho Mutcho, circa late 1970’s.

The old gentleman liked my music, and one day, he approached me to say he wanted to give me a present. He escorted me into his shop which was located in the Corner Market Building. He turned out the little sign in about three minutes. It pretty much captured my look: long hair, glasses and mustache. His signs (much more elaborately done than this simple one) used to be all over the Market. They were so unmistakable. Well, I looked all over the interweb today, and I couldn’t find one example of his work. If you have something, please share? He was great. I figure I’ve made about $500,000 with this sign. (Just kidding!)

market permit button 004

I also happen to have the very first Pike Place Public Market Musician Permit ever sold. A regulation was put into effect which required buskers to obtain permits to play in the market. My singing and guitar-playing act was pretty well-liked. When I went to the office in January 1976, to buy my permit, the market representative  pulled out button #1, and said, “We saved this for you, Randy”.


The author performing at Couth Buzzard Books/Cafe, June 2014.


Happy Updates:

Reader Tiffany Doody was kind enough to email me photos of two prints of Sketcho’s work. You can get a fairly good idea of the artist’s style. He used a lot more strokes of the pen on these, compared to my simple little sign.

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Seattle Pike Place Market Alley Scene, 1970

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Behind The Public Market Sign, 1971

And, in June, 2016, I heard from a person who aptly described herself as a lucky art lover and bargain hunter from Port Orchard, WA. She sent me a photo of this print from 1970. She was fortunate to find it at an incredibly good price. I love it. It shows the Market from Stewart Street, looking south. I really appreciate her sharing! I’ve played music many times on the street corner portrayed in the lower left section of the photo.

Mutch 1970 Print

Enlarged for detail.

Sketcho Mutcho 2

Here’s one more photo, above: Will (Sketcho) was fond of donning white-face and strolling around the market, saying hello to all. He cut quite a figure. I loved him. I last saw him in the early-mid 1980’s, at the Moore Theater. The Moore had just been restored. It was a beautiful theater. It still stands! Will has passed on; I don’t have any details….